An architectural capriccio

Francesco Lazzaro Guardi

  • An architectural capriccio 2
Basic information
Francesco Lazzaro Guardi
An architectural capriccio
Date of creation
1770 – early 1780s
pen Indian ink
Dimensions (height x width, cm)
19.8 x 13.7
Information about author
Francesco Lazzaro Guardi
Artist's lifetime
There is little information about Francesco Guardi (Venice, 1712 – 1793, Venice). The Guardi family owned a small atelier that specialized in copying the works of famous artists and fulfilling church commissions. After his father and elder brother, who ran the workshop, Francesco took over and from then on began painting and copying landscapes. His contemporaries called him the second Canaletto, although he never learned from him. Guardi was able to depict masterfully the shadows of houses and people. He painted a city that was alive, changing before his eyes. Seeking a special mood, the artist often repeated the same subjects and motifs. He often borrowed ideas from his predecessors' paintings, giving them a special spirituality. After the mid-1760s Guardi returned to the genre of Veduta as he was the only artist who worked in this genre at the time, demonstrating the quality of his work. His work, which includes some six hundred surviving drawings, dates from the last decade of his life. Predominantly capriccio and maquettes are what remained in the artist's studio at the time of his death.
Object description
Guardi's fantasy views and landscapes are divided into two broad groups, the Architectural Capriccio, in which the artist combined real and fictitious elements of Venetian architecture, and the Romantic Capriccio, in which combinations of half-destroyed architectural elements were placed in the landscape. In the Architectural Capricho in Lviv, the artist depicted an imaginary view from under the building's portico into a palace with a small square. The rapid brushwork creates rich light and shade contrasts. Human figures, rendered in a few brush strokes and strokes of the pen, are depicted almost schematically. The free style of the painting shows that it was created as an independent work of art. No analogues of Guardi's paintings have been found to date. There are, however, several adaptations of this architectural motif among the works of Guardi's followers. This indicates that the artist repeatedly referred to it (its reproduction, depiction). In terms of the manner of execution, the drawing is close to graphic sheets dating from the 1770s and early 1780s.